The Writers Institute

Books are written in solitude, but writers do some of their finest work with crowds—in public talks, interviews, and events. The best moments from those strange, dramatic interactions often go missing, however: either they’re never recorded, or nobody will ever find the recordings.

Fortunately, the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany has been methodically recording thousands of writers’ events since 1983, when it was founded by the novelist William Kennedy. Now, the writer and radio producer Adam Colman is digging into those audio archives, listening to recordings from the likes of Raymond Carver, Grace Paley, Jamaica Kincaid, Margaret Atwood, and Samuel Delany. On The Writers Institute, you’ll hear them, too, along with writers who joined Adam in listening to the archival recordings. They include Jonathan Franzen, Susan Choi, Jonathan Lethem, Saeed Jones, and Amelia Gray. Tune in to hear what happens when intensely solitary work finds its way into the public realm and the wider world.

Performing Arts
Jonathan Lethem (with Ann Beattie, Samuel Delan...
Finding Worlds within the World
49 min
Saeed Jones (with Alice Notley, John Ashbery, Y...
On Making Things Happen with Poetry
49 min
Amelia Gray (with Don DeLillo, Russell Banks, a...
Amelia Gray, Don DeLillo, and Russell Banks on Writers Going Hollywood
49 min
Susan Choi (with Grace Paley, Raymond Carver, J...
Susan Choi on Grace Paley and Thinking Like a Writer
49 min
Jonathan Franzen (with Don DeLillo, Jamaica Kin...
Jonathan Franzen on the Highs and Lows of Writers at the Microphone
50 min
Introducing The Writers Institute, a show about writers off the page
2 min